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Red Mountain & Slate Mountain
August 8, 2020
by Mark Purcell
Tom, Li, Randall, Ken, Mark, David

Within the hiking history of the various configurations of the Trailblazers, the Red and Slate Mountain circuit has been visited numerous times. Reports from those trips are quite thorough and do not need embellishment, so this version will be photo-centric. Some basic info on each destination will be provided along with hike stats.

First Hike: Red Mountain

An old extinct volcano, one of the more than 600 volcanos that dot northern Arizona’s landscape. This unique volcano offers hikers to walk into the innards of a dormant mountain of fire. For reason not entirely understood by geologists, the northeastern flank of Red Mountain collapsed, exposing the intricate internal structure of the more than 700,000 year old cinder cone. Tiny cinders crunch underfoot along the ponderosa-shaded trail that leads into a visual striking arena of towering stone pillars and contorted lava formations. A secured six foot ladder must be climbed in order to get into the most spectacular part of the mountain, where disintegrating layers of red, ocher and black cinders create amaze of clefts and canyon to explore.

Ken, Li, Randall, Tom, David
Red Mountain, here we come!
We haven’t got to the ladder yet.
Fantastic rock formations of Red Mountain.
Tom gets a good picture of the ladder. [photo by Li]
Mark, quite the lady (bugs) man.
Not all of Red Mountain is red. [photo by David]

Second Hike: Slate Mountain

Not actually made of slate, this hill is a laccolith, or a solidified heap of lava that pushed up the earth's crust, like a blister that never broke the surface. Time has since eroded away the mountain's top layers to expose the grayish-blue igneous rock called rhyolite, which early explorers mistook for slate.

Made it to Slate Mountain Trailhead.
Slate Mountain Trailhead.
San Francisco Peaks from Slate Mountain
San Francisco Peaks from Slate Mountain. [photo by Li]
Li, on Slate Mountain. [photo by Tom]
Total distance: 8.5 miles
Total elevation change:  1600 ft.
Total hiking time: 4 hours

Red Mountain Volcano—a Spectacular and Unusual Cinder Cone in Northern Arizona

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Arizona Trailblazers Hiking Club, Phoenix, Arizona
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updated August 14, 2020